Jeff Sessions is Out, Matthew Whitaker is New Acting Attorney General
In a bold move on Wednesday following midterm elections, President Donald Trump replaced U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Sessions’ Chief of Staff, Matthew Whitaker.
Many had speculated for weeks that Sessions would be gone after the midterms.
Yet, while many were hoping it would be soon, most were caught off guard with the sudden announcement of Sessions’ resignation.
Reports indicate that Sessions was asked to resign prior to Trump’s early morning news conference.
It’s possible that the media may have gotten wind of a change brewing in the administration staff because one reporter asked Trump if anyone would be leaving.
Trump indicated that changes in personnel were not unusual following the midterms but he was not specific about who might be on the way out.
Sessions who has been a disappointment to Trump from the beginning because of his recusal regarding the Russia investigation, said in a letter:
“At your request, I am submitting my resignation.”
For many, it was what they had been waiting to hear for a long time because it seemed that Sessions was not capable of doing the job Trump wanted and what the country needs.
Additionally, Sessions hasn’t always appeared to be on the same page with Trump and this may have also led to his resignation.
Recently, it was brought to Trump’s attention that Sessions had directed the Department of Justice to join a lawsuit which would challenge Obamacare’s rules on pre-existing conditions.
Trump denied that Sessions had informed him about the lawsuit.
In fact, Trump assured supporters during his midterm rallies that his administration was in favor of covering pre-existing conditions.
Trump announced that Whitaker would be Acting U.S. Attorney General until a permanent replacement could be nominated later.
In 2004, Whitaker was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa by former President George W. Bush.
Whitaker has been critical of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the past and will now oversee the Mueller investigation. His authority, could most likely end the investigation should he deem it wise to do so.
In 2017, Whitaker wrote an article for CNN on the issue of the Mueller investigation.
He was critical of Mueller’s probe and said then:
‘It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else. That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.’
Whitaker believed Rosenstein should have ordered Mueller:
‘to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him. If he doesn’t, then Mueller’s investigation will eventually start to look like a political fishing expedition.’
It took all of five minutes for Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader to call on Whitaker to “recuse” himself.
“Given his previous comments advocating defunding and imposing limitations on the Mueller investigation, Mr. Whitaker should recuse himself from its oversight for the duration of his time as acting attorney general.”
Schumer went on to say:
‘Protecting Mueller and his investigation is paramount. It would create a constitutional crisis if this were a prelude to ending or greatly limiting the Mueller investigation.’
Sorry, Chuck. Unlike Sessions, it doesn’t appear that Whitaker will take the “recusal bait.”
No doubt Schumer and other Democrats were hoping that the last two years of Mueller’s investigation would continue on for the next two years right up until the 2020 elections.
Whitaker doesn’t appear to be someone who’s about to let that happen!